Pentax Optio I-10 Digital Camera Review


Pentax Optio I-10 front
Daniel Bell reviews the Pentax Optio I-10.

The Pentax Optio I-10 design is based on the old Pentax Auto 110 film camera and has been coupled with advanced features such as face detection, an optical 5x zoom lens, anti-shake protection and high-quality movie recording. The RRP when launched was £199.99 but it’s now available for £94 in either classic black or pearl white. Other cameras which you could be considering at this price range are the Pentax Optio M90 or the Olympus FE-5030.

Pentax Optio I-10: Features

  • 5x optical zoom, 5.1 ‐ 25.5mm f/3.5 – 5.9 (equiv to 28‐140mm in 35mm)
  • 12.1 Megapixel sensor
  • 2.7in colour 16:9 LCD
  • 4 – 1/2000sec shutter speed (dependent on mode)
  • ISO80 – 6400
  • Unique design inspired by an SLR camera
  • HD-TV proportioned movie recording
  • Triple anti-shake protection
  • Creative digital filters
Pentax Optio I-10 key features: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
Pentax Optio I-10 battery compartment   Pentax Optio I-10 back
The I-10 is powered by a rechargeable lithium‐ion battery.   On the rear is a 2.7in colour 16:9 LCD screen.
Pentax Optio I-10 lens   Pentax Optio I-10 top
The 5x optical zoom is equivalent to a 28‐140mm in 35mm.   On the top of the camera is the shutter button on the right and a finger grip on the left.

Pentax Optio I-10: Handling
It is fair to say that the design of the I-10 is unique and is likely to be a design that you either love or hate. The classic black looks very much like the Pentax Auto 110, the pearl white version used in this review looks less so, but it certainly stands out. 

Pentax Auto 110
Pentax Auto 110.

The I-10 is easy to grip and easy to use. It takes about a second from switching on to being ready for taking pictures. You are then presented with a good clear screen that performs well in dark and light conditions. Navigating through the menus is simple as well as using the zoom rocker.

Pentax Optio I-10: Performance
The images taken by the I-10 are extremely good, particular for a camera available for under £100. At the wide-angle length there is plenty of detail throughout the image, even when viewed at full size. At the telephoto length some detail is lost around the edges of the images but the pictures produced are still good. Colours are also represented accurately by the Pentax Optio I-10.

Pentax Optio I-10 performance: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
Pentax Optio I-10 wide-angle   Pentax Optio I-10 telephoto
Wide-angle.   Telephoto.

ISO and noise performance
Noise is controlled well from ISO80 to ISO200, but becomes increasingly more noticeable beyond this. At ISO400 it affects the image massively and continues to worsen through ISO800, ISO1600, ISO3200 and ISO6400. At these ISO levels the images are certainly going to be best suited for small prints and for the web.
Under the incandescent lights in our studio the I-10 does a good job in auto. There is a slightly warm feel to the image, switching to the incandescent preset does a better job. Under the fluorescent lights, again the auto white-balance does a good job, but is a touch dark in places. The fluorescent preset is a bit of a let down, giving quite a warm colour cast through the image. Overall the auto white-balance setting is quite reliable.

Pentax Optio I-10 white-balance: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
Pentax Optio I-10 Auto white-balance in incandescent lighting   Pentax Optio I-10 Incandescent preset in incandescent lighting
Auto white-balance in incandescent lighting.   Incandescent preset in incandescent lighting.
Pentax Optio I-10 Auto white-balance in fluorescent lighting   Pentax Optio I-10 Fluorescent preset in fluorescent lighting
Auto white-balance in fluorescent lighting.   Fluorescent preset in fluorescent lighting.

Scene modes
The scene modes available on the I-10 are night scene, night scene portrait, half-length portrait, landscape, flower, portrait, surf & snow, sport, kids, pets, food, fireworks, frame composite, party, natural skin tone, candlelight, text, blog, digital wide and digital panorama.

Below are three examples. Landscape mode has given a boost to the blues and greens is certainly an improvement on the image taken using program mode. The panoramic mode is easy to use and the image produced is good, it is impossible to see where the camera has stitched together the three images. When using text mode the writing on the newspaper is certainly readable, even on the small thumbnail below.

Pentax Optio I-10 scene modes: Click on the thumbnails for larger images.
Pentax Optio I-10 Landscape mode   Pentax Optio I-10 Text mode
Landscape mode.   Text mode.
Pentax Optio I-10 Panoramic mode
Panoramic mode.

Digital filters
On the I-10 there are a range of filters available to apply after taking an image. Filters such as black and white and sepia work well and will be useful, meaning the user can produce more creative images without the use of image editing software. Some of the other filters are less useful and are likely to be used more for fun.
The Optio I-10 captures movie clips at 16:9 HD-TV proportions (720p) at 30 frames per second. Images can be extracted from movie clips, and title images can be added to the beginning and end of a movie clip. Below is an example video taken by the I-10. The quality is excellent for a camera available at this price.

Pentax Optio I-10 sample video

Pentax Optio I-10: Verdict
The I-10 is now available for less than £100 which represents quite a bargain. For this low price you are getting a camera capable of taking good images, although performance at ISO400 and above isn’t great. Users will enjoy using the wide range of scene modes and digital filters and an extra bonus is the HD movie mode. A big factor when considering the I-10 is the design which is more likely to appeal to long time Pentax fans rather than newcomers to the world of photography.

Pentax Optio I-10: Pros
Pentax Optio I-10HD movie mode.
Pentax Optio I-10Price.
Pentax Optio I-10Range of scene mode and digital filters.

Pentax Optio I-10: Cons
Pentax Optio I-10Noise performance from ISO400 and above.

Pentax Optio I-10: Specification

Price £94
What comes in the box AV cable, USB cable, AC cable, Li-ion battery, battery charger, strap and software
Lens 5x optical zoom, 5.1 ‐ 25.5mm f/3.5 – 5.9, equ. to 28‐140mm in 35mm
Resolution 12.1Mp
Max. Image size 4000 x 3000
Aspect ratio 3:2
Monitor 2.7in colour 16:9 LCD
Focusing system TTL Contrast detection Autofocus system
Focusing modes 9-point Multi‐AF, Spot AF, Auto‐tracking AF (anticipating moving subject)
File types JPEG
ISO sensitivity ISO80-6400
Metering system Multi-segment metering, Centre-weighted metering, Spot metering
Metering modes Auto Picture, Program, Night Scene, Night Scene Portrait, Half-length Portrait, Movie, Landscape, Flower, Portrait, Surf & Snow, Sport, Digital SR, Kids, Pet, Food, Fireworks, Frame Composite, Party, Natural Skin Tone, Candlelight, Text, Blog, Digital Wide, Digital Panorama, Green.
White-balance Auto, Daylight, Shade, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Manual setting
Exposure compensation +/-2EV (1/3 EV steps)
Shutter speed range 1/2000  – 1/4 sec.  4 sec at most. (Night Scene mode setting)
Anti-shake mode CCD-shift Shake Reduction
Movie mode HDTV (1280×720), 30fps ; VGA (640×480) 30fps ; QVGA (320×240), 30 fps
Media type SD / SDHC
Interface USB & AV output
Power Rechargeable D‐LI92 Lithium‐ion battery
Size (hxwxd) 65 x 100.5 x 28mm
Weight (with battery) 153g

The Pentax Optio I-10 costs £94 and is available from Warehouse Express here:

Pentax Optio I-10